Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Other Mother

Written by Beth Lawrence


Since day one, many have asked about The New Chick’s biological mom. And for all seven of the months he’s lived in my house, I’ve put off writing about her. But, there is a season for everything, and a time for every purpose under heaven. 

The first time I saw her it was in the Chambers County Courthouse. I looked up from admiring the five-day-old baby who was snug against my chest, and saw her walking toward us. I knew her by the tears pouring unchecked down her face. She humbly asked me if she could hold him, and I began to wonder at the world I had just entered.

As I unswaddled all five precious pounds and placed him in his mother’s arms, I realized this entire endeavor was going to require more of my heart than I had expected. I felt all at once tremendous pain for her, and ferocious protection over him. 

Those two emotions would only swell with the passing weeks. At times, they were at war within my soul. 

Someone commented on her right after he came to us. They posed a question, that was really more of a statement, along the lines of how could anyone do what she has done. The person went on to make her out as a total sinner and me a total saint.

I just blinked and ashamedly said nothing. But inside was a raging inferno.

There is nothing fundamentally different about her and me. The only thing that polarizes her life from mine is that I was given a gift when I was six.  

The gift of the Holy Spirit when I was adopted by The King.

Without that gift, I would have been her. I would have chased this world and let it have its way with me. I would have made costly decisions-- looking to all the wrong things to make me feel happy and all the wrong people to make me feel loved. I would have given myself to a man way too early and gotten pregnant and had a baby. 

It would have been me watching the social workers walk out of the hospital with my first-born son, still sore from giving birth to him. 

It would have been me wondering where they took him.
And who was holding him. And what was going to happen to him.

It would have been me facing every parent’s worst nightmare.

It would have been me.

But Jesus.

I won’t lie. There’s another side to my feelings about her. It’s not jealousy. Or competition. It’s more like looking at her and wondering if I will be her in a few months. 

I fear the pain she’s already lived through.

Handing my baby over to the social workers to be cared for by strangers. Wondering where he is and if he needs me. Missing his firsts and wanting him so desperately it hurts. Fearing that he wants Mama, but can’t have her.

I hate the notion that her success will mean my greatest loss. And just as much I loathe the idea that if she fails, I somehow win. 

Because if he goes back, I’ll curl up and die for a while. But if he stays, I’ll grieve with the knowledge that she’ll do the same. Either way, pain will be thick. 

It’s true that she and I are very different. I was adopted and she wasn’t. She brought him into the world and I didn’t. I know him in ways she doesn’t. 

And every time I say “Come to Mama” I am reminded that there is another.

But in this we are the same. 

She and I are both the other mother.

Beth Lawrence is Wife Supreme to one good looking preacher, and Queen Mother to two bios and one foster. She has a knack for helping women feel less crazy while inspiring them to pursue Christ like crazy. Please visit her blog, Just Beth, and follow her on Facebook.


Davy Jolene said...

Thank you for sharing, Melanie! I can totally relate to being the other mother and that both success and failure by the parents will bring pain. Foster care is so complex. I get upset when people speak critically of the biological parents, yet realized my own guilt in that area upon meeting the biological family. They love imperfectly, they make mistakes. So do I. What/who would be best for the kids long term? I have no idea. Thankfully, God's plan is perfect.

kaitlyn said...

"Because if he goes back, I’ll curl up and die for a while. But if he stays, I’ll grieve with the knowledge that she’ll do the same. Either way, pain will be thick" This exactly. We are awaiting a decision about permanent custody for the foster daughter we've had for 3 years, and you perfectly described how I feel. Either decision brings grief and loss, and that's hard for others to understand. Thank you for sharing this.